Anil Ambani
Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications (RCom) may be hit with claims of up to Rs 1 lakh crore as lenders and creditors rush to file claims before the May 21 deadline in the bankruptcy case. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade

Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications (RCom), facing insolvency proceedings, could be hit by claims for nearly Rs 1 lakh crore, media reports say. Lenders and creditors are racing to meet the May 21 deadline to file claims. The final claim could be more than double the Rs 46,000 crore debt that the defunct telco has on its books, reports say.

RBSA Advisors LLP, the interim resolution professional (IRP) that the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has appointed, is receiving the claims of domestic and global banks as well as operational creditors including the government, mobile phone companies and telecom tower firms, a report in the Economic Times says. "The last date to send claims is May 21 and as per the calculations, dues worth Rs 75,000-90,000 crore will be asked for. The total amount may even go beyond that," one of the unidentified sources the report cites says.

Another person aware of the development said: "Besides the national banks, Chinese lenders and bondholders will demand their dues along with the interest." The total claim could easily be the largest claim seen in an insolvency case in India, sources say.

The claims cover "obliger and co-obliger", which means the debt of RCom and its units Reliance Infratel and Reliance Telecom, and the debt of other subsidiaries and step-down companies of the telecom firm will be taken into account. The total claim could thus be more than double Rs 46,000 crore that RCom books show. Shares of Reliance Capital (RELCAPITAL) and Reliance Power (RPOWER) plunged 5.25 per cent and 4.88 per cent, respectively, on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) by Monday noon.

Mukesh Ambani helped his younger brother Anil Ambani to pay off debt owed to Sweden's Ericsson

"This will be the highest claim amount in an insolvency case so far," the report said Manoj Kumar, head, M&A and insolvency at law firm Corporate Professionals, as saying. "Also, there should not be much difference between the final amount approved by the IRP and the claim amount since it will vary only with respect to dues of operational creators."

RCom was forced to shut its wireless operations late 2017, dragged down by its debt and widening losses amid intense competition ignited by the entry of elder sibling Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio in September 2016. RCom tried to sell its wireless assets, such as spectrum and towers, to Jio but failed due to a slew of legal cases, forcing it to opt for insolvency proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

Rcom's insolvency case has resumed in the NCLT after an appellate tribunal vacated a stay on the proceedings. RCom is the second telco after Aircel to enter bankruptcy proceedings after going under a debt of Rs 20,000 crore. Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson may not be among the claimants as it has already received Rs 550 crore from RCom following a Supreme Court order.